Show Review:: Cartel 4/22


Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
Review and photos by Caitlyn Willard.

Cartel recently came to Baltimore to celebrate the anniversary release of their debut album Chroma, which was released 10 years ago (CRAZY!). They played to an almost sold out room, full of fans waiting to relive their early teenage years. The band also brought along with them Hit the Lights, TEAM*, and Driver Friendly.


Driver Friendly, who hail from Austin, TX, were the first act to play. Driver Friendly is fairly new to the scene, having only been around since 2012, but have already opened for bigger names such as Motion City Soundtrack, Relient K, and now, Cartel. The first time I saw them was during Warped Tour 2013 and I’ve been a fan ever since. With an incredibly energetic live presence, the band had the attention of everyone in the room. Driver Friendly even played a cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” which had the crowd dancing and singing along. This is a band that definitely shows a lot of promise.


TEAM* was up next. The band, which started in 2013 includes two past members of Forever the Sickest Kids, Caleb Turman on vocals and Rico Garcia on drums. Their music had an indie/beachy sound with a mix of rock and was very catchy. The crowd seemed to enjoy them and with the fans from some of the members past work, I’m sure they’ll start building a solid fan base soon.


Hit the Lights, like Cartel, has also been in the scene for many years and had a solid fan base in the crowd. Opening their set with their new song “Fucked Up Kids” from the latest release Summer Bones, the band had great energy throughout their whole set. It was clear that the energy in the room really began to build as Hit the Lights began playing some of their older songs such as “Stay Out” and “Drop the Girl” and closed their set with fan favorite, “Body Bag”.


It was now time for the band of the night. Cartel opened with the first song off Chroma, “Say Anything (Else),” and the venue instantly exploded. Their set included every song from Chroma, front to back. It was clear that this album was very influential to the fans in crowd, as it is to us over at Lucy Out Loud. Every person sang their hearts out to each song along with the band. At the end of “Burn This City,” Cartel even stopped playing the last verse so the roomed was filled with nothing but the audience singing the words back to them. In the middle of the set vocalist, Will Pugh, came out on stage out by himself to play a very intimate performance of “Save Us.” This might have been my favorite moment of the night and some parts honestly gave me goosebumps. The energizing set concluded with “Q” and “A.”

For the encore, Cartel played a couple fan favorites including “The Fortunate” and “The Perfect Mistake”. The crowd gave their all from beginning to end and it was certainly a night to remember.

Review:: Hebrews | Say Anything

With each passing album that Say Anything pens, I tend to pensively dip a toe before diving right in. It’s nothing against the artists or the music, but more of a personal reason. Before I even press play, I can be certain that it will be something new. And before jumping into the deep end of my conclusions or opinions, testing the waters is much safer.

So, here we arrive at Hebrews. Putting all of the talking aside, not getting buried beneath repetitive mentions reminding “but there aren’t any guitars!,” Hebrews holds tight onto the grit and chaos a Say Anything fan craves.

Sure, the lack of guitars is a very aggressive decision, but creatively, it’s enjoyable.

Their absence is something that, while noticeable, isn’t entirely distracting. In their place, supportive orchestral pieces give a feeling, somehow, of both order and disarray. On paper, it’s odd, but it works when you hear it and, more often than not, isn’t noticed until pointed out (“Judas Decapitation,” “Six Six Six,” and the extensive introduction to the title track being prime examples).

Bemis’ self-deprecation is sharp and focused at countless moments here, but most is taken with some semblance of tongue-in-cheek thanks to his delivery and clever lyricism. His ability to write darkly while delivering lightly has always put Bemis in a select category, and Hebrews is no exception. “Six Six Six” is an introspective look at religious and personal relationships, calling himself “just a strung-out, overweight Jewish guy” after submitting “I belong in jail, but I lied my way to heaven, with a wife who hasn’t learned that I’m Satan yet.” Later, on the plucky and playful “My Biggest Fear is Splendid,” Keith Buckley helps Bemis inventory his long list of neuroses and anxieties while still sounding cheery.

“Lost My Touch” lies at a median between love and self-loathing. Set as a mild piano ballad, Bemis offers up his role to those who “are twice as insightful and half his age” and tell him he “has lost his touch writing Say Anything songs.” Despite knowing he’ll “one day be eclipsed,” he still gets a warm smile from it, knowing he “lived and bled for this.” With help from a Christie DuPree/Jeremy Bolm harmony, the song eases away with “I never say ‘washed up’ as I prefer to say ‘washed over,’ because you can drown in love of yesterdays.”

On the other side of the median, “The Shape of Love to Come” is a gloomy synthpop duet with wife Sherri DuPree. An indisputable standout, the pair’s chemistry rings through each second and note of the track, which happens to clock-in as the album’s lengthiest.

Now, I could go on for hours about the bits of Razia’s Shadow I hear throughout Hebrews or the comparisons I could make between the two. Firstly, there’s the departure from “typical” form – Razia as a musical, Hebrews as a guest-filled cabaret more or less. Second, the ambitious orchestration leads to a lack of guitars, with strings filling their vacant slot. And then there’s the cast: Bemis’ vocals are at-times reminiscent of his previous arachnidan role, while Chris Conley and Aaron Weiss (whose inclusion again leans more towards spoken narration rather than singing) each loan their own bit of vocals. But like I said, you probably shouldn’t get me started on that one.

Anyway, back on track. Bluntly, Hebrews is a leap of faith. Bemis has spent the better part of a decade progressing and maturing, and the songwriting and decision-making processes here are great indicators of where he is in regards to those. An album from a rookie songwriter taken in this direction would be marked as ambitious and wild, then perhaps given its dues and tucked away. Though, for someone with the status and reputation such as Max Bemis’, it’s [most of] those things and more. It’s, from my perspective, a message to fans, to critics, to himself and the world alike; he is aware of both who and where he is, he knew what he was capable of (or, maybe he didn’t), and he saw an opportunity for something exceptional. All of this is purely speculative, but one thing is unquestionable – the end result deserves our applause.

Check Out: “Six Six Six,” “The Shape of Love to Come,” “Judas Decapitation”

Release Date: June 10th, 2014
Rating: 4.25/5
Runtime: 46:36

1. “John McClane” featuring Chris Conley and Matt Pryor
2. “Six Six Six” featuring Sherri DuPree-Bemis, Andy Hull and Jon Simmons
3. “Judas Decapitation” featuring Gareth and Kim Campesinos
4. “Kall Me Kubrick” featuring Chauntelle DuPree-D’Agostino
5. “My Greatest Fear Is Splendid” featuring Keith Buckley
6. “Hebrews” featuring Brian Sella
7. “Push” featuring Aaron Weiss
8. “The Shape of Love to Come” featuring Sherri DuPree-Bemis
9. “Boyd” featuring Sherri DuPree-Bemis
10. “A Look” featuring Stacy King and Bob Nanna
11. “Lost My Touch” featuring Christie DuPree and Jeremy Bolm
12. “Nibble Nibble” featuring Tom DeLonge and Sherri DuPree-Bemis

Written by Eric Riley

Stream Say Anything’s Upcoming Album In It’s Entirety On Spotify

Although Say Anything’s upcoming album, Hebrews, is not being released until June 10th, the album is currently streaming on Spotify!

Fans can stream the album by clicking here and pre-order the album by clicking here!

Seven Bands To See At Boston Calling: #2, Brand New

With Boston Calling exactly a week away, we’ve decided to make a list of seven bands you do not want to miss. Whether they’re a headliner or an opener, whether they’re hip-hop, dance, rock & roll, or something somewhere in the middle, there are a handful of sets that you’re definitely going to want to pencil into your schedule.

On our list so far: #7. Magic Man/The Box Tiger#6. Bastille#5. Jack Johnson#4. Tegan & Sara, #3. Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls

Today we talk about our #2 pick – Brand New!

One of the most beloved, discussed, and enigmatic acts around, Brand New have been leading the pack for nearly a decade and a half. As a group that has earned a following that borders on crazed (just ask anyone who tried getting tickets to their shows back in December or those who are already awaiting a Deja Entendu vinyl preorder), their set this weekend has potential to be massive. Could there be mention of that ever-elusive fifth album that has always been “in the works?” Will it be another full-album setlist (and if so, what if it’s Daisy from start to finish? Will the ungrateful fans flood the message boards again?)

There are a lot of questions that won’t get answered until the band takes the stage, but we can be certain of this – the fact that Brand New are playing Boston Calling is a pretty big deal. There have been fans, myself included, who have waited a while for this band to start consistently doing things again, and this weekend marks the start of a pretty substantial touring schedule that runs through the end of summer. This last winter, scalpers were selling tickets for upwards of $250 (I know, I know – that’s disgusting) for the band’s club shows. That being said, having Brand New sharing a stage with a handful of other amazing artists this weekend is just icing on the cake.

For fans of: Alkaline Trio, Saves the Day, Say Anything
For a taste, check out: “Jesus,” “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot,” “Seventy Times 7”
When you can see them: Sunday, 8:15 PM

Say Anything Premiere Title Track, “Hebrews”

Say Anything will be releasing their newest album, Hebrews, on June 10th via Equal Vision Records – and I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty damn excited! You can give the title track a listen over on Red Bull Music which premiered today!

What do you guys think of the song?!

Say Anything Premiere Title Track, “Hebrews”

Say Anything Announce New Album & Tour

“Favorite record I’ve ever made = favorite tour I’ve ever played. Not to mention the other bands slay; if y’all show up, you’ll make my day.” – Max

These are the words of Say Anything frontman, Max Bemis, in reference to the bands newly announced album “Hebrews” which will be released on June 10th via Equal Vision Records. To support the album, Say Anything will be hitting the road starting June 13th – for the full list of dates click “Read More” below!

6.13 Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
6.14 Austin, TX @ Emo’s
6.15 Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
6.17 Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
6.18 Tampa, FL @ Ritz Ybor
6.19 Orlando, FL @ Beacham Theater
6.20 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
6.21 Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend
6.22 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
6.24 Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa
6.25 Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live
6.26 Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
6.27 Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
6.28 New York, NY @ Best Buy Theatre
6.29 Boston, MA @ House of Blues
7.1 New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place
7.2 Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
7.3 Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon
7.5 Toronto, ON @ Opera House
7.6 Millvale, PA @ Mr Smalls Theatre
7.8 Lansing, MI @ Common Ground Fest
7.9 Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
7.10 Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note
7.11 Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
7.12 Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
7.13 Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater
7.15 Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theatre
7.16 Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
7.17 Salt Lake City, UT @ Club Sound
7.19 Seattle, WA @ Showbox at The Market
7.20 Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
7.22 San Francisco, CA @ Regency Ballroom
7.24 Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre
7.25 Pomona, CA @ Glass House
7.26 San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
7.27 Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee

To purchase pre-sale tickets for the upcoming tour, head to:

Review:: Under Fire EP | Under Fire

Under Fire is a five piece pop-punk band hailing from New Hampshire who are releasing their first EP which also happens to be called Under Fire. This EP takes me back to the pop-punk I was listening to back in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Nothing says pop-punk more than an album four songs and roughly 13 minutes in length.

When I loaded up the songs the first thing that came to mind was how much Josh Carley’s vocals made me think Max Bemis of Say Anything. The second thing that came to mind was how much the music itself was reminiscent of The Ataris.

The first song on the EP, “Last Call”, is anthem to boozing up and throwing down. Lyrics like “Don’t even think, just grab a drink, we’ll start a fight set the tone for an upbeat album full of youthful energy and exuberance. In fact, it is no surprise that I am reminded of the aforementioned time period, as that is when I was in high school. The lyrics are very youthful in nature, and I mean no disrespect by that. I can easily remember what it was like growing up and being impacted by friends and relationships and feeling like I was old enough to do what I wanted. Life can seem pretty difficult during this time and it is expressed pretty well with this album.

The clear hit on the EP is “Tired”, the last track on the album. It is a great representation of all the things I’ve mentioned thus far; a youthful and energetic song about growing up. The song is by far the most well-done on the album, from the lyrics to song writing and production. It’s a fun Amber Pacific-esqe song that any crowd would have a hard time not getting in to. If I was 18 year old me again, I’d definitely hop into a circle pit for this.

Under Fire’s self-titled EP is a really solid first effort; one that should see their stock rise and opportunities present themselves.
This album is most certainly worth a checking out, which is made easier by the fact that the band is literally giving it away on their bandcamp page. The EP would be worth grabbing even if it wasn’t free (link below!!!), but since it is you have absolutely no reason not to check them out.


Release Date: August, 6th, 2013
Rating: 3.5/5
Runtime: 13 minutes


Track List:
1. Last Call
2. Moving On
3. Fractured (feat. Lynn Gunnulfsen)
4. Tired

Under Fire is:
Josh Carley – Vocals
Devin Dehart – Guitar
Adrien Aries – Guitar
Ricky Butt – Bass
Jake Kisiel – Drums



Written By: Mark Northern